Dan’s Top Video Picks on Depression

Films can teach us a lot about depression.  Not only can they provide information.  They can also move us emotionally by drawing us into the subject with interviews, animations, and other techniques that aren’t amenable to books.  Here are my favorite videos that address the topic of depression.

Living with Depression

I came across this short video recently.  And was very moved.  It captures, with sublime music and moving images of a young woman, her struggles with clinical depression and the loneliness she endures. Powerful. Over four million people have viewed it. Running time is 3 minutes and 22 seconds.

Robert Sapolsky On Depression in U.S.

Stanford Professor Dr. Robert Sapolsky, author of the best-selling book, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Guide to Stress, Stress-related Diseases, and Coping,” posits that depression is the most damaging disease that you can experience. He states that depression is as real of a biological disease as is diabetes. Running time is 52 minutes and 29 seconds.

 What is Depression?

In this short animated video, Dr. Helen M. Farrell examines the symptoms and treatments of depression and gives some tips for how you might help a friend who is suffering. Dr. Farrell is a psychiatrist from Boston, teaches at Harvard, and has written for such publications as the New York Times. Running time is 2 minutes and 22 seconds.

Depression, The Secret We Share by Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, winner of the prestigious National Book Award, says, “The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me at that moment.” In a talk, equal parts eloquent and devastating, he takes you to the darkest corners of his mind during the years he battled depression Listen to this TED talk from this insightful speaker. Running time is 29 minutes and 22 seconds.

 I Had a Black Dog; His Name Was Depression

 In collaboration with World Health Organization to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells us about the “black dog of depression” using animation. Running time is 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

The Mindful Way Through Depression

Zindel Segal, Ph.D., co-author of the book, The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness, gives this excellent TED talk about how the practice of mindfulness and help relieve clinical depression. It’s an excellent overview of how to meditate using the breath to detach from the story line of negative thoughts running through your head.  I loved the book. Check out this film. Running time is 18 minutes and 4 seconds.

 A Terrible Melancholy: Depression in the Legal Profession

 Attorneys suffer from depression at a rate three times that of the general population, according to a recent study. This film, which I produced, features four lawyers, a former law student, and a former judge discussing their personal experiences with depression. Depression experts are also interviewed, including Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of the best-selling book, Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Fueled a President to Greatness. Running time is 31 minutes and 48 seconds.


Personal Reflections on Manic-Depressive Illness

Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and author of the best-selling books, An Unquiet Mind and Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, the best book I’ve ever read on suicide, shares her experiences with living every day with the mania and severe depression that she had studied for years. She talks openly about the challenges she faced with the treatment and disclosure of her mental illness. Running time is 30 minutes and 29 seconds.

Depression is a Disease of Civilization with Steven Ilardi, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Ilardi is a professor of clinical psychology and the author of “The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs”. He earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Duke University and is a nationally recognized expert on depression. I like this guy because he offers a different perspective on depression. He argues that we need to look at the unhealthy cultural and lifestyle habits of Americans rather than seeing depression rather than seeing depression as an “illness” that we need to treat with medication.  His talk is well worth watching. Running time is 22 minutes and 21 seconds.

Do you have a video/film/documentary that you would like to share with the LWD audience? Please hit the “Comment” section to share your pick.


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